Tender chunks of salmon surrounded by satisfying whole-grain orzo and salty bites of feta cheese made fresh, and rather herbaceous, by the addition of fresh dill and parsley, lemon juice, spinach and tomatoes. Make one ahead on the weekend, place it in the fridge or the freezer, and then on those busy weeknights just remove it and pop it in the oven. You'll be so glad to have this eye-pleasing casserole that hits the spot without weighing you down, leaving you with plenty of energy to get through your busy week!
Herbed Salmon and Orzo Casserole with Feta
Adapted from You've Got It Made
by Ellie Krieger
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 large scallions, chopped
1-1/2 cups whole-grain orzo pasta
2 cups fish stock or water
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved*
2 cups lightly packed spinach leaves, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 pounds skinless salmon fillet, cut into 1/2 chunks
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
salt and pepper, to taste
Note: I used vacuum-packed sun-dried tomatoes in place of cherry tomatoes
Heat the oil in a large, deep ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the scallions, and cook, stirring, until they are softened, 2 minutes. Add the orzo and cook, stirring for 2 minutes more. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until the orzo is about halfway cooked, 5 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, spinach, parsley, dill, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and cook until the spinach is wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Gently stir in the fish, cover, and cook, stirring once or twice, until the fish is cooked on the outside but still a bit translucent inside, 4 to 5 minutes. The mixture may be refrigerated or frozen at this stage.
To continue, preheat the oven to 450F. Sprinkle the feta over the top of the skillet, then place in the oven until the feta is lightly browned and melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
From the refrigerator: Transfer to a 9x13 pan or two 8x8 ovenproof dishes. Refrigerate up to 2 days. When ready to serve, allow to sit at room temperature as the oven preheats to 375F. Bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more.
From the freezer: Transfer mixture to a 9x13 pan or two 8x8 ovenproof dishes. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes. Then sprinkle the feta on top, cover with airtight lid or plastic wrap and then foil, and freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator for 18 to 24 hours then heat according to the "refrigerator" directions above. Cook in oven at 375F for 35 minutes, then remove foil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes more, until heated through.
Serving Size: About 1-1/2 cups; Calories: 460; Total Fat 17g; Protein: 40g; Carb: 30g; Fiber: 4g; Cholesterol: 95mg; Sodium: 550mg
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